Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Voidologists: Live at Squeaky Wheel (Wednesday)

Laura, Andy, my sister, and Kendra all came to see my show at Squeaky Wheel on Wednesday night. Stacey had made an amazing video of ridiculous distorted images, looped video, and some great retro 60's looking robots. I hadn't actually seen the whole thing, but I had total faith that it would be great. (and it was, there were many compliments on it after the show.)

I've always said that if even one person that I don't know shows up, I'll be ecstatic...and two people showed up! So I was double-happy. I was bonding with the one guy over Merzbow and noise in general, and the woman who showed up was actually one of the organizers of the Infringement Festival. She was excited to see my show, and we talked about how I do things and my passion behind all of this.

She even wrote a great review the next day on the Infringement blog:
"then over to Squeaky Wheel to see "The Voidologists" whom I had missed at the Noise Fest on Monday. I HAD to go see this act, which was described as a footnote on their promotional material as sounding "like a robot orgy in hell...gone wrong". I thought they deserved an audience just for their marketing acumen. "They" is a misnomer; "The Voidologists" are essentially one techy guy named Dave that puts it all together in his basement, backed by a video his sister made. That last sentence makes it sound like kid stuff; au contraire; this was the audiovisual equivalent of being run over by a tank, and enjoying the experience. I was thrilled. For those with an acquired taste, NOT to be missed. At Squeaky Wheel at 6pm on Saturday."

This entire experience continues to be surreal for me, it's just...amazing. Completely amazing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Voidologists Live at Burnwood

The most amazing part of the night was when I looked up after I finished playing, and there was a crowd of about twenty people cheering and applauding.

My noise has always been very private and personal. To be able to perform it live in front of an enthusiastic audience was incredible in a way that I can't even describe.

More pictures, video and audio will be posted soon. Next show is Wednesday, then Saturday...!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Headed out last night to go support Sherri, one of the bartenders at Soundlab, as she opened the show for Icy Demons. When I was paying the cover, the doorman remarked to his buddy, "Man, this guys is devout! He's always here. We should start giving him a discount or something." I just smiled and said, "Ah, you know it, I'm a regular." I joke all the time about how Soundlab is my home away from home. It really is the place in Buffalo that's kept me sane.

Sherri put on a great show, she plays this old school style of electro off of an MPC and a keyboard. I saw her once before at a little house party, but she always said that it wasn't really a good performance and that I should check out a more proper show. Her stage name is "Bev-Beverly" (I have no idea why) and her style is sort of a cross between modern house/dance and 8-Bit Nintendo sounds. What really makes it fun though, is her energy. She was really adorable paying, bouncing around, occasionally stopping to throw balloons into the air or a roll of streamers into the crowd (which nailed me right in the shoulder. I kept it going though, by launching it towards some unenthusiastic hipsters that just watched it hit the floor...) She even had a little machine pouring a sea of bubbles into the air, which provided the perfect atmosphere for the small group of dancing girls nearby. There was a companion video being projected in the background while she played, a colorful mix of random images and animations. At one point there was a cluster of cute hamster photos, animated to be dancing and shooting rainbows out of their mouths. Sherri's hard to describe, but that little sequence represents this girl better than I could ever explain.

I was really excited to see Icy Demons, I'd heard a lot of good things, and I liked what I heard on their myspace page. I even really liked the crazy insane pink and black tiger t-shirt they had for sale. I do this all the time, I'll just randomly go to a show and 9 times out of 10, it turns out to be awesome. Well, this was the 1 time out of 10 where it just sucked. They weren't really bad, I guess, but I just wasn't into it at all...maybe it was the fact that they kept going a little off key, maybe it was that the music was too "jam band" for me, or maybe it was that 3 out of the 6 members were wearing different versions of that tiger t-shirt. I'm sorry, but no band member should ever, ever wear their own bands t-shirt on stage. Or off stage, for that matter. I mean...come on. Lame. So I bailed early, mid performance at around 12:30. I had been bugging Kendra to come to the show with me all night, and now I'm kind of glad that she opted to stay home instead. Turned out to be a wise decision. I've brought Laura and Andy to a few shows that turned out to be horrible, and now I have a bit of a reputation with them for picking awful bands out. I'd like to have a better track record, but the way I go to shows there's always the random element, it's a gamble for quality.

Despite the lame main act, I'm still totally glad that I made it out. I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately and my brain has just been feeling like it's slowly melting into a pile of goo. You'd think I would just go to bed earlier, or stay in more. You'd think that...and yet I'm going out anyway. There are shows for the next two nights, then my High School Reunion is on Saturday, followed by a dance party, which means I'll be drinking A LOT. A whoooole lot of a lot.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mind = Exploded

This is something I never, ever, EVER thought I'd see in an Artvoice show listing:

I am so excited and proud right now...this is so huge. Awesome. Just awesome.

Boris at The Tralf

I arrived early enough to catch the opening Torche set, which was just some in your face metal. I mean, when the guitarist has a handlebar mustache, you KNOW he means fucking business. When they launched into their last song, a smoke machine filled the air with obscuring clouds, and when it cleared, we could all see the drummer from Boris, who had jumped up onto the stage...and started playing a gong. Yes, a full size gong. He then hopped onto a second drum set and alternated between the two, banging the hell out of both as Torche thundered their way onward. It may have been one of the most metal moments of my life.

When Boris did take the stage, they put on a pretty great show. I'm kind of a casual fan, but I still really dig their style and ability to create an ocean of guitar noise. That, and I can stand and watch a cute Japanese girl play the guitar forever and never get bored. Seriously. I was kind of disappointed by the crowd, everyone was so subdued, but really I think we were all just in awe of the mighty entity that is Boris. They don't really inspire moshing or even head banging, it's more of a zen like trance you fall into while listening to the impossibly dense and deafeningly heavy riffs. I'm really glad I went, because I don't know if I 'll ever have a chance to see them again. It's pretty amazing that they're even doing a US tour, I never would have expected to catch these guys in Buffalo.

Below are few edited clips from the show as witnessed through the eyes of my cell phone. The audio is awful, but it does give a sense of the intensity of the show, so I kept it, in all of its low quality glory.

Friday, July 11, 2008


My good buddy Dave is living in Boston these days, so I don't get to see him as often as I'd like. Still, his family is in Buffalo, so when a holiday rolls around, he always makes the effort to squeeze in at least an hour or two for us to catch up. We used to hang out at Higher Grounds, the only independent coffee shop in the suburbs...until it closed and became a furniture store. So this time it was Anderson's, the local ice cream parlor. It was great to see both him and his wife. Somehow I ended up just telling these long winding stories about the last few months of my apparently eventful life. It had been a few months since we talked, and I hadn't realized just how much has happened during that time. I did my best to condense it into a few short stories, which they did seem to be really entertained by.

Another highlight of seeing Dave is that he always brings me a big bag of experimental music. You see, one of his buddies in Boston is a DJ for a radio station, and the guy constantly gets CD's submitted to him by artists hoping to get air time. A lot of the stuff he gets is really avant-garde, out there material that wouldn't fit with his show. So he asked Dave, "would you want a pile of CD's with music that is just too weird to be played on an indie radio show?" And Dave said, "No , but I know someone who would..."

Every time I get a pile of this music it's like Christmas and my birthday multiplied by magic. One of my biggest joys is discovering new artists, especially ones that play experimental, ambient and just straight up noisy crazy ridiculous audio nonsense. These albums are just a goldmine of that mans rejected music is anothers treasure. Not only that, but as a big fan of the "do it yourself" mindset, I love seeing the handmade packaging and the gorgeous artwork that these albums always come packaged in. My favorite so far from this latest batch is a guy who plays improvisations using a stereo DJ mixer. Nothing hooked up to it at all, it's just the mixer. He found a way to get screeching, squeaking noises from the thing, and recorded an entire album of it. Why, you may ask yourself, would anyone bother to not only spend time doing such a thing, but then make an album and release it? Because, of course, someone like me will find it, listen to it and love it. I am a huge, huge fan of music as art, and I'm just a total sucker for stuff like this. It also encourages me to keep working on my own projects, in the hopes that somewhere out there, someone will stumble across my album and genuinely enjoy it. I'll actually be selling my albums for the first time at the end of July when I play at Squeaky Wheel...big step for me, but I'm totally excited. If even one person picks up a CD of mine and likes it...that would blow my mind...the very concept is awesomely surreal.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fuck Yeah Fest 2008

I can't even come close to describing how good this show was. It will do it no justice, you have to go watch the video, here, (click on the "Buffalo is Great" vhs.) Every band was amazing, but what really made the night was the performance by Monotonix.

I'd heard a lot of hype about them, I'd seen the crazy photos and I'd heard the stories. Yet none of that prepared me for the real thing. I have a new standard by which to judge shows now. The drummer was set up right in the middle of the floor, with the crowd surrounding him, and the vocalist just came rocketing in spraying bottles of water everywhere as the guitarist tore up the most ridiculous riff I've ever heard...from that point it just became a straight up rock riot. If there was a surface to climb onto, the singer would leap from it into the crowd, people started climbing up on the tables and bar to get a better view as most of us were banging out heads and moshing right next to and into the band. After each song they would pick up the drum set and move it further into the venue, at one point half the band was on the bar itself (along with the bass drum, which the vocalist was playing with the kick pedal, right along with the beat) while kids crowd surfed and crashed into each other, the singer kept grabbing random peoples drinks and pouring them on the drummer/himself/the crowd, and all of this while the music never stopped, and he never stopped was the most insane and impressive performance I have ever seen. Not only were they going ballistic, but they still were really fucking good...I'm amazed they were able to produce the sounds they did while running all over the place.

Eventually the drum set moved close enough to the door that they just picked it up and brought it outside, so we all followed, and by some bizarre coincidence in the universe, there just happened to be a passing jam band out there, a saxophone player, along with a few friends of his that played other brass instruments. So now we're all outside, with the drummer still going full speed, accompanied by saxophones and trumpets, as the vocalist is singing and dancing and we're all clapping along with him. So then they pick up the drums again, and run across the street closer to a little park area where they set up again. At one point a guy was crowd surfing while playing a piece of the drum set...outside Soundlab at 2 in the morning. I tried to snap a few quick photos but my phone couldn't handle the pure rock fury. What I have are manic, blurred pictures that are indistinguishable yet full of movement. They're actually a pretty damn accurate representation of the night. I don't think anything will ever top this show. (Not unless I see this band again.) Fucking EPIC.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Wednesday Night Rock Show"

When I arrived at Soundlab Wednesday night for the Times New Viking show, Sleeping Kings of Iona were once again on stage as the first opening act. That makes it my third time seeing them open in...about 11 days. They've just been consistently awesome each time, and I'll definitely be making it a point to seek them out when I can, instead of only randomly stumbling onto them at other shows. During their set I couldn't help but watch this one girl in the audience dance her little heart out. She always has her boyfriend in tow, who stands next to her and bobs up and down awkwardly. It's in that way that all guys will half-dance when they feel they need to participate with their girl, but they don't want to go all out because no one else is dancing. What made it so adorable was that she was dancing like a little kid who was excited about going to an amusement park. It was this bouncy, jumpy, bopping all over kind of jig. Normally when a girl dances, it's all, you know, hot. This was just really cute, like a puppy hugging a kitten.

The next opening act was a rapper from Ohio called Envelope. He was an average looking white guy, but he managed to pull off the hip-hop act by being humorously self deprecating and completely humble. He was actually really good, the guy knew how to rhyme and had this funny and endearing style. My favorite line of the night was 'building my body like Homer J, drinking vodka mixed with ocean spray" After the show, I picked up his album and he gave me a free 7" and... a pint glass. That may be the most original (and useful) piece of merch I've ever gotten at a show.

Times New Viking were good, blasting through a set of their signature distorted noise-pop-punk. For a drummer, guitarist and keyboardist, they sure managed to make an impressive racket. Their albums are recorded on old-school reel to reel tape, so they have this texture of noise that musicians normally spend thousands of dollars trying to remove. Not these guys, they've embraced it...and not only that, they found a way to recreate it live. (At one point the drummer summed this up when he was mocking the guitarist for spending so long tuning, "if you've ever heard any of our records, you know we're perfectionists.") I can't remember the reason, but they also opened a bottle of champagne to pass between them and through the crowd. A few brave souls actually drank form it, but the rest of us were a bit too sober to go near that cauldron of backwash.

After people watching for a while, I started to think about the different types of people that show up to these mid-week rock shows. The only girls there are always part of a couple. Any time I've ever seen a lone female, she was either dating a guy in one of the bands, or was actually in one of the bands. That's the second component of the crowd, the band members who aren't actually on stage yet. Of the 30 people there for this show, 10 where band members. The rest of the crowd is made of of the guys like me. We're there to see the show, so we stand right up front with rapt attention during the performance, but inbetween bands we sit quietly by and nurse a beer, listening to the mix CD being played on the house speakers and waiting patiently for the next group to finish setting up. Occasionally we'll chat with each other or the bartender, but I think we all prefer to just chill. I don't mind too much, though I wouldn't mind having some company. The trick is finding someone that will stay all the way to the end, through every band and then hang out long enough to say "hi" to the musicians and buy merch. I used to drag The Ex to these shows, and she'd always make a fuss and complain enough to get us out of there early. Or, if we did stay, she'd make sure I knew how bored she was by sitting in a corner and knitting while the band performed. It put a sour note on some great shows. So, compared to that bullshit, I really don't mind occasionally going by myself. In fact, since I started going alone again, I've rediscovered how much I abso-fucking-lutely love live music. Ah, good times.